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The garden compost bin

Friday, April 20, 2012 Leave a Comment

Why would I want to compost?

The purpose of composting is pretty simple: to reuse your organic trash and renew your soil. Adding compost to your yard can help your soil, making your plants, trees and lawn healthier. And you can cut down your trash headed for the landfill by 30%.
better compost
What kind of bin should I buy?
Keep it simple. A $12 black trash can with the bottom cut out and air holes punched in the sides works just fine. 

What do I put in the compost bin?

It's simple chemistry: half green, half brown, a little water, a little air flow, and heat.

Green is your vegetable and green plant scraps, or your nitrogen: carrot peels, apple cores, lettuce scraps, pepper cores, orange peels, potato skins, celery tops, grass clippings. 

Brown is your dead plant matter, or carbon: last fall's leaves, deadheads and old twigs from your bushes, grass clippings that you let dry in the sun for a day or two.

The key is getting the mix right.

Water it until it's moist like a sponge, make sure there's some air holes, and put the lid on and let it heat up.

Where should I keep it?
Keep it right in your garden. The sun heats it up, and the good compost-making worms and bugs come to it. When it's time to harvest, just lift up the trash can, and that handy hole in the bottom lets the rich brown compost fall out.

Do I have to touch worms?

No. The beauty of this system, placing it right in the garden, dug down a few inches so it doesn't blow over, is that the worms and other good bugs crawl right up through that handy hole where the bottom of the trash can is cut out and make that nice warm bin their home.

What if it smells?

If you have the mix right, 50/50 carbon/nitrogen, it shouldn't. If it starts smelling like ammonia, you've got too much green stuff, or nitrogen. Add some brown. 

What should I not put in?

No meat, no fats. No steak bones, or cheese rinds, or leftover bacon, or last night's salad with blue cheese dressing.

This is something you can make in an afternoon, with your kids!


  • Unknown said:  

    Our composting tips are on the Plum District blog!

  • Unknown said:  

    "I have ants in my compost bin!" Aside from being annoying, that's a sign that your compost bin is too dry. Get some moisture in there to kick up the heat and the ants will move out!